The 2018 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study marks the 29th year of the survey. This year it measured the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the prior 12 months by the original owners of 36,896 2015 model year vehicles.
The survey focuses on US customers, but has often been seen as a barometer for the reliability of car makers worldwide.
The industry average in the 2018 survey was 142 problems per 100 vehicles, an improvement of nine percent over 2017, and the first time the industry score has improved since 2013. The mass-market average was 143 PP100, while the luxury brand average was 136 PP100.
Lexus scored 99 PP100, just ahead of Porsche which was reported to have 100 PP100. Third overall, and first for mass-market manufacturers was Buick, with 116 problems per 100 cars.
Rounding out the top five was Infiniti (120 PP100) and Kia (122 PP100).
The study found in-car technology continued to be the most problematic across the industry with infotainment systems (audio/communications/entertainment/navigation) receiving the most frequent complaints. The two most common problems reported by owners were built-in voice recognition (9.3 PP100) and built-in Bluetooth connectivity (7.7 PP100).
“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” said Dave Sargent, vice-president of global automotive at J.D. Power.
“A nine percent improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever. For people looking for a new or used model, now is a good time to find that special vehicle.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum was Chrysler, which was rated as the least dependable manufacturer by customers with 211 PP100. Land Rover wasn’t far ahead, with 204 PP100, while Fiat (192 PP100), Jeep (188 PP100), and Cadillac (186 PP100), rounded out the bottom five.
J.D. Power has recently started surveying customers in Australia, with Hyundai finishing at the top of a 2017 Sales Satisfaction Index, ahead of sister brand Kia, and Holden and Ford.